Growers and other interested parties are invited to comment on five proposed metrics for the Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops.

The Soquel, Calif.-based group said in a news release that the proposed metrics on applied water use efficiency, energy use, nitrogen use, phosphorus use and soil organic matter can be accessed at After registering, visitors can review documents on each proposed metric; comments will be taken until July 19. Those documents address the need for the metric, its description and technical notes, according to the release.

The metrics have been developed and tested through a multi-stakeholder consensus on how to measure specialty crop performance, according to the release. The comment period runs through July 19 and all interested and registered parties are invited to review the packets and comment. Comments can be posted online or submitted to, according to the release.

The Stewardship Index for Specialty Crop is on schedule to release its first public version of the five metrics by early September. They are free of charge.

The index is conducting targeted pilot tests with several firms, including Farm Fresh Direct, Monte Vista, Colo., the Almond Board of California, a group of California tomato processors, a group of New Jersey vegetable growers and other regional grower groups, according to the release.

Since the Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops was founded in 2008, the group has developed, pilot-tested and refined metrics for water, energy, soil and nutrients and worked on metrics for diversity, greenhouse gas emissions and waste. The group has also coordinated pilot testing of the metrics with 109 growers in four states, according to the release.